Arizona Game and Fish Department
A lone wolf that was spotted north of the Grand Canyon, the first such sighting in 70 years, last fall may have been killed.

First Grand Canyon Gray Wolf in 70 Years Shot by Utah Hunter Who Mistook It for Coyote


A wolf whose October sighting at the Grand Canyon, the first in decades, evoked elation among conservationists and wildlife experts may have been shot in Utah, according to reports.

Gray wolves had not been seen in that region since the 1940s, when they were wiped out in Arizona, and the photo snapped last fall by a visitor to Grand Canyon National Park showed a female wearing a radio collar. “Echo,” as the wolf came to be known, had apparently journeyed nearly 500 miles, through five states, from the Rocky Mountains to the north rim of the canyon. It was the first gray wolf to be seen in the Grand Canyon’s vicinity in 70 years.

But on December 28 a hunter in Utah, just over the border from Arizona, called authorities after shooting what he thought was a coyote, upon discovering the collar, Live Science reported. The collar showed the animal to be a three-year-old female that had been tagged in January in Wyoming, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources spokesman Mark Martinez told Reuters—matching the description of the animal seen in Grand Canyon National Park.

An investigation by U.S. and state conservation officers is underway to see if the hunter violated any federal or state wildlife laws, Reuters reported. Gray wolves are protected federally in both Utah and Arizona, as well as other states, though in 2013 the U.S. government caused controversy by proposing to delist the animals, relegating management of their endangered status to individual states. The New York Times reported earlier this month that a judge had thrown out a similar attempt by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove them from the list in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, in the Great Lakes region.

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Either way, this latest shooting, of a lone wolf that had strayed far from its original pack, highlighted the necessity of protecting the animals, conservationists said.

"This shows how vulnerable gray wolves are and how important real protection is," said Michael Robinson, conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity to Live Science. "What we need is a response that follows the Endangered Species Act and prevents these kinds of occurrences from happening again. We think a thorough investigation is imperative."

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Michael Red Hawk's picture
Michael Red Hawk
Submitted by Michael Red Hawk on
I find this very strange indeed why exactly is this hunter shooting Coyotes for sport when they are such a beautiful animal in the wild. For several years I spent summers at my Uncles Cattle and Dairy ranch near Salmon Arm, BC Canada and one of my duties during calving season was to ride out to the range where the cattle were grazing with a 22 caliber rifle at dusk as there were coyotes in the area. My Uncle informed that they are not to be shot or killed as they are only hungry and when spotted I was to shoot at the dirt around them which will scare them off. I only had to do this twice and they disappeared. It was fun to see them dance back and forth and then were scared off most likely to the adjoining ranch...

Bill Hayes
Bill Hayes
Submitted by Bill Hayes on
Just want to clarify that this was not a hunter, it was a yahoo with a gun. It is my hope that he is prosecuted to the full extent of the law. If anything, it may give other yahoos pause. Mistaking a wolf for a coyote.... what an idiot!